The survey, out Thursday from the left-leaning Washington, D.C., think tank New America, also found that nearly six in 10 of us believe that colleges put their own long-term interests ahead of those of students.
“Folks are starting to realize that while institutional and student interests may often be aligned, they’re not always aligned,” New America’s Amy Laitinen said.
Among the bright spots: Community colleges are beginning to seem more promising to many Americans — more promising than either public or private four-year colleges: While just 61% say public four-year colleges “are worth the cost,” 82% say the same about community colleges.
That surprised the researchers, who admit that community colleges have spent the past few years sharpening their focus and taking a hard look at costs, among other factors.
“If we had done this survey 10 years ago, we would not have seen these numbers,” Laitinen said.